Dozens of rural hospitals have shuttered in recent years, and these states are home to the most facing a high risk of doing the same.
By Gaby Galvin, Staff Writer
Feb 22, 2019
Hundreds of hospitals in rural America could close if their financial situations do not improve, a new analysis indicates.
People in rural communities, frequently burdened by physician shortages and older populations, often face more difficulty than their urban peers in accessing health care. Now, a new analysis from Navigant, a consulting firm based in Chicago, finds that about 1 in 5 rural hospitals – a total of 430 – are at high risk of closure due to their financial situations, potentially hindering many Americans’ access to care and affecting 150,000 hospital-related jobs.
“Our analysis shines a new light on a rural hospital crisis that must be addressed and could significantly worsen with any downturn in the economy,” David Mosley, co-author of the study and managing director at Navigant, said in a statement.
Rural communities already have lost dozens of hospitals. Between 2013 and 2017, 64 rural hospitals shut their doors, more than twice the number of closures in the previous five years, according to an August report from the federal Government Accountability Office. A dwindling number of patients who seek inpatient care and reductions in Medicare payments have helped drive their financial distress, researchers have found.